A day after eight members of one family were found dead with gunshots to the head at four properties in rural southern Ohio, authorities continue the scramble to determine who targeted the clan and why.
Investigators on Saturday said they had interviewed more than 30 people in hopes of finding leads in the deaths of the seven adults and 16-year-old boy whose bodies were found Friday at homes southwest of Piketon.
All were shot in the head, authorities said, and it appeared some were killed as they slept, including a mother in bed with her 4-day-old baby nearby.
The newborn and two other small children were not hurt.
Authorities said all the victims were members of the Rhoden family, but they declined to provide any more information about them.
Investigators said that none of the deaths appeared self-inflicted and that they believed at least one assailant remained at large, considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators were following up what they described as an “overwhelming” amount of tips, but no one had been arrested.
Authorities urged surviving members of the Rhoden family to take precautions and offered help, and they recommended that area residents also be wary.
Phil Fulton, the pastor of Union Hill Church up the road from where some of the victims were found, described the family as close-knit and hardworking.
He said they were previously part of his congregation, though not recently.
“We’re just doing everything we can to reach out to the family to show them love and comfort,” Fulton said.
The exact timing of the shootings remained unclear. Authorities first got word in an emergency call shortly before 8 am Friday from someone reporting blood in a home with two males possibly dead, and responding deputies were flagged down about more victims at two others homes, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said.
Two of the crime scenes are within walking distance of each other along a sparsely populated, winding road that leads into wooded hills from a rural highway. The third residence is more than a mile away, and the fourth home, where a man’s body was found later Friday, is on a different road, at least a 10-minute drive away, said the investigation’s leader, Benjamin Suver, a special agent in charge with BCI.